YNT – May 26, 2016 Press Release

May 26, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention today announced a unique partnership with WHYY, KYW Newsradio, the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, and PSTV, the Philadelphia School District’s education channel, to create a local Youth News Team. This program will be funded by The Philadelphia Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and will offer Philadelphia high school and middle school students interested in journalism an opportunity to cover the Democratic National Convention. The collaborative project will also work with local media partners to provide mentorship and publish students’ Convention stories.

“The DNC in Philadelphia this summer provides a platform for the next generation of journalists to learn about the democratic process, and what better place to get that experience than in Philadelphia, which has been making history since the Founding Fathers,” said former Pennsylvania Governor, Vice President of the Rendell Center, and Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee Chair Ed Rendell. “This program, created in partnership with the Rendell Center and other prominent, local organizations, will provide local students with memorable, hands-on experience covering a large-scale, historic event. I look forward to seeing the stories they put together.”

The program will take place weekdays from July 18th to July 29th and includes separate applications for the high school and middle school components.

Students accepted as members of the Youth News Team will participate in a two-week program comprised of two parts. The first week will be a journalism boot camp, during which students will learn about how to report and develop stories. The second week – during the Convention itself – will be devoted to actual reporting. Each Youth News Team will be provided with access to certain Convention-related activities and programs, such as various caucus meetings and events. The teams will cover the activities surrounding the Democratic National Convention and the issues they are passionate about, in partnership with some of the region’s news organizations. The original news stories and content the students produce will be published and promoted in real time during the Convention to ensure students’ work receives exposure and attention from an audience of local Philadelphians and Convention attendees, alike.

High School Program

To apply for the High School Youth News Team, any Philadelphia high school students interested in journalism or excited to learn how to communicate the democratic process to a broader audience must create teams of five, led by a teacher who would act as their team leader. Teachers would be responsible for submitting an application on behalf of their teams; applications must demonstrate a strong interest in journalism, developing stories and a passion for covering issues affecting Philadelphia and the nation.

Four teams of five students each (20 students total) will be selected to participate in the program and will receive hands-on training in journalism, production and convention politics from WHYY and PSTV and will be mentored by participating journalists through partnerships with local news outlets.

Teachers, as team leaders, would be responsible for helping students develop their stories, outreach to sources and contacts, and gather the information they need to effectively cover the Convention. They would each receive a stipend for their participation in the program.

This program is open to high school students (grades 9-12, including graduating seniors) who are city residents and enrolled in Philadelphia schools.

More information on the High School Youth News Team can be found here.

Middle School Program

The Middle School Youth News Team will involve a total of five middle school students, who will apply to join a middle school-aged cohort for a two-week news experience program, during which they would learn the basics of how to cover a convention. They would learn how to create media stories in written, audio and video form about their experiences covering the event, and produce a narrative that can be shared by local broadcasters.

This program is open to middle school students (grades 6-8, including graduating 8th graders) who are city residents and enrolled in Philadelphia schools.

More information on the Middle School Youth News Team can be found here.

Applications to both the high school and the middle school Youth News Teams must be submitted by June 6th and students selected to participate in the program will be notified on June 10th.

Dr. William Hite, Superintendent, The School District of Philadelphia, said, “The 2016 Presidential Election has been among the most unpredictable campaigns ever and I couldn’t be more excited for students and teachers from the School District of Philadelphia to be part of the DNC Youth News Team. This is a tremendous opportunity to witness history first hand and expose our students and teachers to the workings of international journalism and presidential politics.”

Pedro A. Ramos, President & CEO, The Philadelphia Foundation, said, “We are pleased to partner with Knight Foundation, WHYY, the School District of Philadelphia and the DNC Host Committee to support the Youth News Team. The DNC Convention is a once-in-a-generation event. It’s important to have youth perspectives, inquiries and voices added to the national conversation at a time when major shifts are happening in civic dialogue.”

Patrick J. Morgan, Knight Foundation Program Director for Philadelphia, said, “The program aims to foster young talent, while inspiring the next generation to get involved in our election process. Through it, we can create a stronger culture of civic engagement in Philadelphia and encourage students to be active participants in shaping their communities.”

Craig Santoro, Director of Educational Programs, WHYY, said, “This is a great opportunity to include youth voices in the democratic process and to introduce to young people the role journalists have in fostering civic dialogue. Our hope is that these young people and teachers will take the skills they learn this summer back to school with them to continue reporting up to the election and beyond.”

The Democratic National Convention will take place July 25-28, 2016 in Philadelphia.